Hellions (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 20-Apr-2016

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer-x 2
Trailer-x 2 for other releases
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 81:46
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bruce McDonald
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Chloe Rose
Rossif Sutherland
Robert Patrick
Luke Bilyk
Rachel Wilson



Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Todor Kobakov
Ian Lefeuve


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, a joint
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     On Halloween eve teenager Dora (Chloe Rose) is stunned when she finds out that she is 4 weeks pregnant. That night she remains at home alone after her mother and brother go out trick or treating and she gets annoyed when some masked children persistently knock on her door. But these malevolent hellions are after far more than sweets; they have come for Dora’s unborn baby which suddenly accelerates its growth in her womb. As the evening progresses Dora gets some help from her family doctor Gabe Henry (Rossif Sutherland) and police officer Mike Corman (Robert Patrick) but ultimately Dora must face her fears and her tormentors alone.

     Hellions is a strange film. It is directed by Bruce McDonald who has 71 credits listed in the IMDb, almost exclusively TV and shorts, and is written by Pascal Trottier, who was the screenwriter of the interesting The Colony (2013) but has otherwise written for TV. I think the issue in Hellions is the scripting, including a very clumsy exposition scene that stops everything dead, and some of the colour choices made by the filmmakers. Supernatural horror films tend to work best when they are based on a reality but where the audience is never quite sure just where reality ends and the supernatural starts. Hellions, however, never convinces us that what is being shown may be real; right from when Dora first knows she is pregnant she hears voices and starts hallucinating while later the filmmakers suddenly introduce pink filters to many outdoor scenes and one sequence also adds double exposures and out of focus shots. This could be otherworldly but comes across as disconnecting and not a little weird. As a very disturbed girl Chloe Rose is in every sequence and tries hard but she is not really strong enough to sell what is happening as anything other than a hallucination. The rest of the cast have little to do but it is fun to watch very grizzled veteran Robert Patrick, so far away from his handsome and slim T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).

     One aspect of Hellions that works well is the sound design. In most scenes it is quite subtle with creaks, music (which is often children’s voices), general ambience and occasional sharp bumps providing just enough sound to be unsettling while everything ramps up in sequences such as the windstorm inside the house when the rears and surrounds resonate with the wind, flapping curtains, windows banging and objects flying around the room and crashing into walls.

     Hellions is all about the fears of pregnancy and childbirth, and children in various guises and costumes dominate both on screen and on the audio track; one early scene of children in Halloween costumes playing with a dead and bloodied animal sets the tone. If a pregnant teen in an angel costume fighting off demonic creatures who want her baby sounds interesting then Hellions is worth a look.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Hellions is presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     When it wants to Hellions looks great with a clear and sharp picture and bright, glossy green and blue digital colours of the countryside, fields and woods. But when the hellions start to visit, red / pink becomes the dominating colour with a number of scenes shot through a pink filter which takes most of the other colours out. Other sequences are almost brown and white. Blacks are solid, however, and shadow detail good except where the colour manipulation intrudes. Skin tones are natural in some sequences but of course are affected by the colour filters.

     I did not notice any marks or artefacts.

     No subtitles are provided.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     English DTS-HD MA 5.1 is the only audio option.

     Dialogue is generally clear although in some instances subtitles would have been of help. As is required of a supernatural / horror film, the rears and surrounds are frequently in use for creaks in the woods, ambient sounds within the house, footsteps overhead, general ambience, demonic voices and the occasional sharp bumps. During the windstorm inside the house the sound stage resonates with the wind, flapping curtains, windows banging and objects flying around and crashing into walls. The subwoofer was used well to add bass to the supernatural scenes, the music and in one case accentuated the heartbeat of the foetus.

     The music by Todor Kobakov and Ian Lefeuve was generally effective and not over-obvious although the continued usage of children’s voices got a bit distracting.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailers (3:18)

     Trailers for Excess Flesh and Bound to Vengeance play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.

Film Trailers

     Two slightly different trailers for Hellions (1:47 and 1:46).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Our version of Hellions is the same as the Region A US release except that one adds English SDH and Spanish subtitles.

Summary

     The level of your enjoyment of Hellions will depend upon how convincing or unsettling you find Dora’s tribulations. With its strange colour manipulations, camera tricks and uneven plotting I could not suspend belief about was happening so did not buy into the film. Of course, that may just be me.

     The video is over manipulated, the audio very good. Trailers are the only extra, but there is nothing else available in other regions.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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